US Visa Applications Guide for International Students

US Visa Applications Guide for International Students 's photoBy Ernest Emeka
Mon Aug 14 2023
US Visa Applications Guide for International Students

Share this article

When Osuagwu Maria got admitted into California State University, she looked forward to the many preconceived clinches and stereotypes about the country. She had grown up watching movies, hearing people's misconceptions and hearsay that made her pick the United States above other nations. However, the first hurdle to her dreams was succeeding in her US visa application in Nigeria.

The American visa application could ruin your chances of coming to America if you have no idea what to do at each step. Maria panicked when she heard it would be a real interview, unlike the United Kingdom's visa application, which only requires biometrics and filling forms. If you want to travel to the US like Maria, here is what you need to know about your visa application:

Read: US Study Abroad Guide for International Students

US Visa Applications Guide for International Students

US Visa Application in Nigeria

The US Visa application involves the following:

1.    You must complete the Visa application form or Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

2.    Pay the visa application fee.

3.    Schedule your appointment 

4.    Visit the US Embassy for your visa interview.

How to Apply for US Visa in Nigeria

Visa and Interviews

The visa and interview process often scares many international students, leaving many searching for ways to scale successfully. The United States has its Consulate in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria. 

We have created a simple way to go about your US Visa Application Online.

Step 1: Create an account online

The first thing you must do to start your visa application is to create an account online. With this account, you can schedule or reschedule an appointment. However, you can only reschedule on a date after your assigned appointment.

Note: You do not pay for your registration

Documents Required for Visa Interview

You must bring the ORIGINAL and PHOTOCOPY versions of your documents. The original will be retained at the Consulate if you do not bring a photocopy. 

You often request to upload certain documents to your case at before your interview date. This information will be sent via email to the email address on file. 

•           An original Nigerian passport having at least two blank pages for visa and empty stamps that is valid for at least six months

•           Two color passport photographs must meet the US photo requirements.

•           Barcoded DS-160 form confirmation page

•           Appointment confirmation letter

•           Previous passports (if applicable for travel history)

•           Application fee payment receipt

•           Proof of funds- bank statements, pay slip, proof of assets, and investment

•           Your original birth certificate and a photocopy. All beneficiaries must submit a valid birth certificate. If born in Nigeria after 1992, it must be a National Population Commission (NPC) birth certificate. If born in Nigeria before 1992, you must obtain an Attestation of Birth from the NPC.

•           Original or certified copies of birth certificates for all children of the principal applicant (even if they are not accompanying).

Additional Information

·         If you are married: Your original marriage certificate and a photocopy.

·         If you or your spouse were previously married: Your original divorce or spouse's death certificate and a photocopy.

·         If you have ever been convicted of a crime:  Court, criminal records, and a photocopy.

·         If you have served in any country’s military: Military records and a photocopy.

·         Adoption papers, custody documents, and a photocopy if you are adopted.

·         If you are the petitioner’s stepchild: The original marriage certificate of the petitioner and your biological parent, and a photocopy along with divorce records for any previous marriages of either parent.

Step 2: Medical exam 

When you confirm your interview appointment date, you should schedule a medical exam with one of the c the US Consulate General's accredited doctors at least two weeks before your interview.

Items to bring to your medical examination

  • Your visa interview letter,
  • Your international passport and one copy of the biodata page,
  • A copy of your immunization records, eyeglasses/contact lenses, specialist reports, and medication (if applicable)
  • DS-260 confirmation page.

The medical exam

The medical examination requires your medical history, physical examination, chest X-ray, and blood tests. The United States also requires tuberculosis (TB) testing for all applicants two years of age and older. 

After the medical exam

The doctor provides you with a copy of your vaccination records and Chest X-Ray CD, while your medical report will be sent directly to the US Consulate. 

Read: How to get US Social Security Cards for International Students

Step 3: Interview 

Who is eligible for F1 Visa?

1.    You must meet the following requirements if you want an F1 visa:

2.    You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution, offering an "academic" educational, vocational, or language-training programme.

3.    The Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement must approve your school.

4.    You must be proficient in English 

5.    You must have sufficient funds 

US Visa Applications Guide for International Students

Is an F1 Visa considered a permanent resident?

No, an F1 visa is not considered a lawful permanent residency visa. However, on a student visa, you may be able to change your immigration status and receive a green card or a permanent resident card with time.

How do you increase your chances of getting a US visa?

  1. Categorize every document neatly and prepare your file to be easily accessible.
  2. Go through the complete list of universities and courses, including the Statement of Purpose (SOP) you submitted.
  3. Understand the course you have enrolled for, its kind of credit systems, the faculty, the course highlights, and why you chose that university.
  4. Learn about the school’s history and the  state you would be visiting 
  5. Go through your financial documents 
  6. Be confident with a smile
  7. Dress well
  8. Get to the US embassy 1 hour before your appointment
  9. Answer all questions honestly and briefly
  10. Always emphasize your ties as a reason for coming back

Most F1 visa interview questions fall under these five categories:

1.     Study plans

2.     University choice

3.     Academic capability

4.     Financial status

5.     Post-graduation plans

Financial status questions

·         How will you meet these expenses?

·         Who is going to sponsor your education?

·         How do you plan to fund the entire duration of your education?

·         Do you have a copy of your bank statements?

·         Did you get offered a scholarship at your school?

·         What is your monthly income?

·         What is your sponsor’s annual income?

·         How much does your school cost?

·         What is your sponsor's occupation?

·         How else will you cover the rest of your costs?

Academic capability questions

·         Why not study in Canada, Australia, or the UK?

·         How will you manage the cultural and educational differences in the US?

·         What are your test scores (GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS)?

·         What do you know about US schools?

·         Can I see your high school/college diploma?

·         What was your previous GPA?

·         How good is your English?

·         Why do you want to pursue a degree in the US?

Post-graduation plans questions

·         Are you sure you won’t stay in the US?

·         Do you have relatives or friends currently in the US?

·         Do you plan on returning to your home country?

·         Will you continue to work for your current employer after you graduate?

·         What are your plans after graduation?

·         Do you have a job or career in mind after you graduate?

University choice questions

·         How many schools rejected you?

·         What city is your school located in? 

·         Have you been to the US before?

·         What do you know about the school's local area?

·         How many colleges did you apply to?

·         How many schools did you get admitted to?

·         Do you know your professors at that university? What are their names?

Study plans questions

·         How will this study program relate to your past work or studies?

·         Why do you want to study in the US?

·         Can you not continue your education in your home country?

·         Where did you go to school before now?

·         Who is your current employer? What do you do?

·         What will you specialize in for your degree?

·         What will be your major?

·         Why are you planning to continue your education in the United States?

Can I get a US visa without an interview in Nigeria?

Candidates might be eligible for a visa renewal without an interview if their applications were for a B1/B2, F, M, J (academic only), H, L, or C1/D (combined only) visa. However, the following requirements must be met:

1.    Their previous visa was issued in Nigeria

2.    Their  previous visa was in the same classification as their current application

After Your Visa Interview

There is no guarantee that you will receive a visa. You must not sell your car, house, or property, resign from your job or make a non-refundable flight until you have received your immigrant visa. A consular officer can only decide on a visa application after reviewing the formal application and interviewing the applicant. 

Sometimes a consular officer may need to review additional documents, or the case requires further administrative processing. When additional documents are requested, the consular officer will give you a refusal letter that asks you to submit other documents.

 The letter will include instructions on how to send those documents to the Consulate or submit the documents online. Administrative processing takes additional time after the interview. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days, depending on each case's circumstances. 

You must wait 60 days after your interview to inquire about your status. 

US Visa Applications Guide for International Students

What are the stages of a US visa application?

1.    Select the type of US visa you will apply for.

2.    Fill in the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160.

3.    Pay your US application fee.

4.    Schedule your visa interview.

5.    Gather your document file.

6.    Attend the visa interview.

7.    Wait for processing.

How much is US visa fee?

The fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas, is $185

How much is US visa fee in Nigeria today?

The application fee for the nonimmigrant visa types like tourist, business, student, and exchange visas is $185. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are $190. 

How Pay4Me Can Help You with Your US Visa Application 

Pay4Me App can help you make your US visa application easier with its seamless payment platform. You can make this payment in Naira using your credit card, USSD, or an immediate bank transfer within some minutes before proceeding to the US embassy for your interview.

Here is what to do:

1.    Sign up on Pay4Me App: Download the Pay4Me App from the Google play store or app store.

2.    Start your payment: Log into your account, Navigate to “Payments,” select “VISA Fee,” and choose USA.

3.    Choose the VISA category.

4.    Enter Payment Information

5.    Complete Your Payment: Pay4Me will process your payment in at most 24 hours.  

6.    Save Payment Confirmation: It serves as proof of payment when applying for a visa or permit.

Read: How to Pay US Visa Fee in Nigeria

Subscribe to Pay4Me newsletter

Get the best and latest posts surrounding finances and payments in your inbox each week.

You can unsubscribe at any moment, no hard feelings.